Below the Rim

Long before the dawning

Not a creature heard about.

Old bones they start to aching

As tired muscles begin to shout.


 He struggles from his bedroll

Tired and broke and bent.

Mornings they come early below the rim

When you’re under ole “Cookie’s Tent.”


An ole black hat sets on his head

Weathered by sweat and smoke.

As he kneels there on the ground

The morning fire he begins to stoke.


 It is a battle to stand upright

And he is proud to make it once more.

His ole tired muscles have faded

Like time washes sand there from the shore.


Sixty years he’s been a wagon cook

And time it hasn’t been too fair.

Weathered, scared and weary

He has seen and done his share.


They say he broke his back

I believe it was in the fall of ’83.

A runaway team flipped the wagon

And it was the next day b’for they got him free.


There’s many wrinkles on his face

Etched there by time and sun.

Maybe they’re his message or reminder

That his ole race is nearly done.


You will never here him say much

But I’d give anything to know his story.

Oh you’ll catch a little mumble every now and then

Something about his days of glory.


They say he came over from England

A yougin’ of 14, a stowaway on a boat.

Craving the cowboy lifestyle

From reading dime novels, some feller wrote.


You can ask him about his past

He’ll just say it sure went by in a flash.

Then he’ll go back to making biscuits

Stirring gravy and the hash.


His eyes still have a little sparkle

But like his ole lantern it too is growing dim.

His gait is somewhat slower

As the first hint of morning peaks above the rim.


But you won’t catch him loafing

His food is always hot.

The grub it is aplenty

And coffee is always in the pot.


Now I’m glad I heard him stirring

And peeked from my bedroll,

To watch this bit of history

And the journey that did unfold.


I never will forget that morning

That time I spent with him.

I now look back on it often

That morning there “Below the Rim.”

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